California GOP won't endorse a candidate in Newsom recall
There are 24 Republicans on the recall ballot.
! The California Republican Party voted overwhelmingly Saturday not to endorse any candidate in the looming recall election that could remove Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office, sidestepping a potentially nasty fight over a GOP favorite that threatened to divide Republicans and depress turnout in the nationally watched race.
! The lopsided vote to skip an endorsement — supported by about 90 percent of delegates attending at a virtual party meeting — reflected concerns that an internal feud among candidates and their supporters would cleave party ranks and sour Republicans who wouldn’t bother to vote if their candidate of choice was snubbed.
! There are 24 Republicans on the recall ballot, with leading contenders including talk radio host Larry Elder, former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, businessman John Cox, state legislator Kevin Kiley, former Olympian and reality TV personality Caitlyn Jenner and former congressman Doug Ose.
! Two of the state party’s most powerful figures –- Republican National Committee members Harmeet Dhillon and Shawn Steel -– earlier helped set the stage for an endorsement vote. But they reversed course Friday and urged delegates to avoid it.
! “The polls are showing that the recall is in a statistical tie, and we cannot afford to discourage voters who are passionate about a particular candidate, yet may not vote because their favored candidate didn’t receive the endorsement,” they warned in an email obtained by The Associated Press.
! In the recall election, voters will be asked two questions: First, should Newsom be removed, yes or no? The second question will be a list of replacement candidates from which to choose. If a majority votes for Newsom’s removal, the candidate who gets the most votes on the second question becomes governor.
! Republicans feared that fallout from an endorsement squabble could sap support from the critical first question on the ballot – whether or not to remove Newsom. If that vote fails to reach a majority, the results on the second question are irrelevant and the governor retains his job.
! The party’s decision was not without risk. Republican voter registration in the heavily Democratic state is a paltry 24 percent. Some party leaders believed the best route to victory in the Sept. 14 election was concentrating the GOP’s money and volunteers behind a single candidate.
Texas Democrats continue holdout, don’t show for new session
! Texas Democrats still refused to return to the state Capitol on Saturday as Gov. Greg Abbott began a third attempt at passing new election laws, prolonging a monthslong standoff that ramped up in July when dozens of Democratic state lawmakers left the state and hunkered down in Washington, D.C.
! “A quorum is not present,” said Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan, who then adjourned the chamber until Monday.
! More than 50 Democrats last month bolted to the nation’s capital, but the precise whereabouts of each of them is unclear. In a joint statement Saturday, Democrats said 26 of them would remain “part of an active presence in Washington maintained for as long as Congress is working.”
! But there were also signs the stalemate may be thawing. Two of the Democrats who decamped last month returned to Austin Saturday, and one of them said enough of his colleagues may also begin trickling back to secure a quorum next week. And, notably, Republicans did not invoke a procedural move that would give Phelan the authority to sign arrest warrants for missing lawmakers, as they did when the Democrats left town.
! Democratic state Rep. Eddie Lucio III said those who might return were feeling the pull of personal and professional demands.
! “I was encouraged that the baton would be carried by my Washington colleagues at the federal level, that there would be sweeping reform nationwide,” Lucio III said.
! Republican state. Rep. Jim Murphy, chairman of the House Republican Caucus, also believed that more Democrats would come back in the coming days.
! “People are talking to their friends, and we think we’re going to see quite a few more,” he said.
! It was not just Democrats who were absent Saturday: Six Republicans were also out, including one who recently tested positive for COVID-19.
! Heading into the weekend, Democratic leaders had not committed to sitting out the entire 30-day session, leaving open the possibility that enough could return at some point to end the standoff. Republicans want to advance an overhaul of elections in Texas under legislation that largely remains the same despite the months of walkouts and protests by Democratic lawmakers.
! Texas would ban 24-hour polling locations, drive-thru voting and give partisan poll watchers more access under the bill that Republicans were on the brink of passing in May. But that effort was foiled by Democrats abruptly leaving the Capitol in a late-night walkout.
! Democrats made a bigger gambit — by decamping to Washington on chartered jets — to run out the clock on the GOP’s second try. Democrats had hoped to exert pressure on President Joe Biden and Congress to pass federal voting rights legislation, but a Senate Republican filibuster continues to block such a measure.
! Democrat Jasmine Crockett, one of the state representatives remaining in Washington, said she would be disappointed if enough of her colleagues returned to give Republicans a quorum next week. She said their group is not “naive” and knows they don’t have the votes to permanently hold off passage of a bill in Texas, but are still hoping for movement in Congress.
! “I’m not giving up on anything. I’m not going home until the fat lady sings,” Crockett said.
! Biden never met with the Texas Democrats in Washington. The group was quickly forced to change some plans after several of their members tested positive for COVID-19. Reports that two Democrats snuck away to Europe also led to bad headlines and invited mockery from Republicans back home.
! There has been a recent sharp surge in COVID-19 infections in Texas, where the number of people hospitalized with the virus stands at more than 8,500 patients, the highest number since February. But Abbott is adamant that Texas will not bring back pandemic restrictions or mask mandates and has prohibited schools from requiring face coverings. Many of the state’s 5 million students are scheduled to return to classrooms this month.
Die Hard Trump Supporters Increasingly Demand Violence If He Isn’t Reinstated, Homeland Security Warns
“Conspiracy theories associated with reinstating former President Trump have included calls for violence if desired outcomes are not realized,” a bulletin sent to states from the Department of Homeland Security said
! The Department of Homeland Security issued a warning on Friday: believers in the false conspiracy theory that Trump will be reinstated have increased their calls for violence if the former president isn’t back in the White House soon.
! “Some conspiracy theories associated with reinstating former President Trump have included calls for violence if desired outcomes are not realized,” the DHS bulletin, obtained by ABC News, said.
! The bulletin went on to say that the recent increase in “public visibility” of liars like the My Pillow guy, Mike Lindell, is the reason for the uptick in violent online chatter.
! Lindell continues to relentlessly push the Big Lie that the election was stolen, going so far as to say that he expects the Supreme Court to unanimously rule in favor of reinstating Trump as president in August.
! “Over the last few days what has occurred is there’s been much more public visibility, meaning the discussions and these theories have migrated away from being contained within the conspiracy and extremist online communities, to where they’re being the topic of discussion on web forums, or more public web forums, and even within the sort of media ecosystem,” a senior DHS official told ABC News.
! The drunk-on-Trump crowd has been triggered so much that Homeland Security says they are concerned about the calls for violence increasing further.
! “As public visibility of the narratives increases, we are concerned about more calls to violence… Past circumstances have illustrated that calls for violence could expand rapidly in the public domain and may be occurring outside of publicly available channels. As such, lone offenders and small groups of individuals could mobilize to violence with little-to-no warning,” the bulletin said.
! The DHS added that although they do not have specifics of an imminent threat, their “reporting indicates that the timing for these activities may occur during August 2021, although we lack information on specific plots or planned actions.”
! Also on Friday, the U.S. Capitol Police said they were aware of an upcoming rally at the Capitol that a former data chief for Trump’s 2016 campaign, Matt Braynard, is promoting. Appearing on Steve Bannon’s podcast, Braynard talked about the #JusticeForJ6 rally, which is planned for September 18, in support of people who have been arrested in connection with the January 6th attack. “We’re going back to the Capitol, right where it started. And it’s going to be huge,” Braynard told Bannon.